Dreams and Flashbacks
See part 1 for disclaimers
Thursday and Friday were two more tortuous days at work—he was hyper-aware of his partner. She kept asking him if anything was wrong—and he kept lying and saying he was OK. He couldn't bring himself to say the words that kept pounding in his head. But he couldn't banish them and think normally, either. He was distracted—and they both were lucky nothing difficult or dangerous came up. He knew he had to make a decision and finally do something—or decide that he wouldn't do anything.
Friday evening came and he was determined to have a quiet evening alone. He watched a couple movies he'd rented, and finally went to bed and fell into a fitful sleep.
He was back at the garden where Amanda had said goodbye to Alan Chamberlain. He looked around—there were no other people around. He was a bit panicked—he knew Amanda should be there—but she wasn't. Did she leave? Had she finally given up on him and left?
Then Amanda was standing in front of him. 'We're best friends—you can tell me anything. You love me—you know it's true. Now you have to do something about it. You have to make the first move—you have to let me know you can love me—you have to love me—hold me—kiss me—make love to me—you have to do it Lee—I want you so much—but I can't wait forever—I won't wait forever…'
Then Alan Chamberlain was there holding Amanda's hands. They were oblivious to his presence. He kissed her, and she melted in his arms. Lee watched with a sick feeling in his gut. 'She's enjoying it—she could love Alan Chamberlain—he would love her in a minute if she'd let him—she'd go off and live with him in Italy...' He'd never see his Amanda again—panic started to rise. He had to do something—
He'd watched Alan Chamberlain kiss his Amanda back last fall—she didn't know he'd watched—but he had—and he'd hated it then—he wanted to pull her from his arms at the time—he didn't then—
Amanda and Alan Chamberlain were kissing in the garden again. Suddenly Lee decided he had to do something this time—he walked up and put his hand on her back—right in the small of her back where it felt so good—he bent over and whispered in her ear. 'Amanda, come with me—be with me—you don't want him—you want me—I want you—I love you—I've loved you for a very long time—you've loved me from the start—though I can't understand why you could have loved me in the beginning—I was so mean and rude to you—but you loved me and never deserted me—you always came back—you always were around—don't throw all that away—I love you.'
Then Alan Chamberlain was walking away from them without a backward glance. He faded away, and Lee took his Amanda in his arms and kissed her deeply. This time it was right.
Lee awoke Saturday morning with a feeling of decision. He'd finally come to terms with how he felt about his partner. 'I love her. And I think she loves me—I don't deserve her—but she's been waiting for me. I guess I'd better do something about it.'
Lee showered and got dressed, and plotted as he drank his morning coffee. 'The boys are with Joe again this weekend. I think Amanda mentioned she and Dotty were planning on going to a flea market. Maybe I can catch up with her there—and ask her out this evening.'
At the flea market, it was busy. The crowds were out enjoying the fine weather—many people mostly strolling and visiting rather than buying. 'The power-buyers start early, anyhow.' Lee thought. 'By now they have gone and it's now the browsers and recreational collectors.'
Lee wandered seemingly aimlessly, looking at various items for sale, all the while on the lookout for Dotty or his Amanda. He saw a table with Civil War memorabilia, and almost bought an old pistol—rusted and unusable, but cleaned up it would be a fine display piece. As he was haggling with the man, he looked over the guy's shoulder, and saw Amanda. She was dressed casually—but her hair caught the sunlight and it gave her a nimbus that made her stand out from the crowd. He put the pistol down and hurried casually toward her. He was scanning the crowd for Dotty, but she wasn't in sight.
'It's now or never.' He came up behind her, and slid his hand into the small of her back. She started, but leaned into his hand as she looked up at him.
"Lee! What are you doing here?" She looked him up and down taking in his casual attire.
"You have a minute?" She nodded. "C'mon, we can talk over here—it's a bit more private." He drew her over into the shadow of a building, where they would be sheltered from the crowd and a bit out of sight.
"So what's this about? Do we have an assignment? Did something come up suddenly?"
He smiled at her rapid questions—not quite rambling but enough to let him know she was a bit off-balance. "Nothing like that, Amanda." They faced each other and he held her hands in his.
"Oh." She processed that thought, then gave him a puzzled look. "So what is this about?"
He took a deep breath. 'Now or never,' he recited mentally. "Amanda, what are you doing tonight? Are you busy?"
She gave him a close look before she replied. "Mother and I had planned on renting a couple of movies." She shrugged, "nothing really important."
Lee nodded. "Amanda, would you like to go to dinner with me? And then maybe dancing afterwards?"
"Dinner and dancing? With you?" She sounded a bit surprised and incredulous.
"Yeah. With me. No work, no case, no cover. Just Lee and Amanda together," he took a deep breath before he finally said it, "on a date."
She blinked and froze, her mouth partially open in surprise.
He gave her a smile and gently closed her mouth with his finger. "I've wanted to ask you out for so long—but our work—we've been so busy—the job doesn't give us a lot of free time—I wasn't sure if you'd say yes—I mean I'm not exactly the type of guy you've dated in the past—" He ran his hand through his hair—she wasn't saying anything—was this a mistake? Did he miscalculate so badly? Usually he was really good at reading women, but this was his Amanda and she didn't always let him know what she was thinking anymore…
"Lee…" He focused on his partner and saw she was smiling at him indulgently with a twinkle in her eye. "You're rambling…" She allowed the statement to lie between them, as they processed the absurdity of the situation.
They both had a quiet laugh, and then he drew her close, and finally allowed his actions to speak for him.
They kissed, and it was better than any of his dream kisses. Much better than a cover kiss, too. Their first real kiss was sweet and warm, each expressing their longing for the other. Their next kiss started as warmly—then began to heat up. His tongue traced her lips and she opened for him, and their tongues danced delicately—almost chastely—but with a distinct undertone of sexual need on both their parts. Her body melted into his and his hands moved to pull her even closer—one in the small of her back and the other tangling in her soft curls. Their kisses started to heat further, and they finally broke for air.
Then suddenly, Dotty's voice broke through their romantic haze.
"Amanda! Where are you?" Dotty was coming up the path—looking for her daughter.
"Oh gosh! Mother was putting our stuff in the car—you've gotta go—she can't see you—" Amanda pushed Lee away, back further into the shadows.
"I'll call you later—when you're back home." He stepped back but held her eyes.
"Yeah—back home." Amanda looked a bit breathless with surprise.
He smiled happily and waved her off. She went back to her mother, and they continued their shopping. Lee followed them easily, fading back into the crowd whenever Dotty turned his way, but catching his partner's eye if she noticed him. They shared smiles and secret looks. He returned to the table and bought the Civil War pistol. They all browsed for another couple of hours. When Dotty and Amanda ate lunch at a vendor's booth, he sat nearby and ate his lunch while he eavesdropped on their conversation.
"Amanda, I hope you won't be disappointed, but I met up with Dr. Marks—you remember him—the dermatologist that Jamie saw a couple of years ago when he had that poison ivy?"
"When did you see him, mother?"
"When I went back to the car—he was there and we got to talking. Anyhow he asked me out tonight—and I said yes—so I hope that's OK—we can do our movie night another time…"
Amanda smiled with relief. "That's OK, mother. You go out with Dr. Marks. I'll find something else to do—maybe read a good book while I take a long bubble bath…"
Lee's body responded warmly to that mental picture.
"Amanda—I worry about you. You never see anyone anymore. If you aren't working—and heavens knows you work a lot—and at such unusual hours!—if you aren't working, you're spending time with the boys or cleaning—you never go out on dates. How can you ever hope to remarry if you don't even date? You let Dean get away—well maybe not get away—he left and I guess that was for the best—his mother was so uptight!—"
"Mo-ther! Please!" Amanda cut the animated woman off easily. "Maybe I just haven't found the right person, yet."
"But that's why you date—to get to know people and decide if they are right for you."
Amanda shrugged. "I'm not like you, mother. I don't date a man unless I think it might go somewhere. I guess I need to know the man a bit before I agree to date him…"
"You will never manage to find anyone if you are so very picky."
Amanda smiled to herself. "You never know, mother. Sometimes being picky pays off, in the end. With love, you have to be patient. Sometimes it's well worth the wait…"
Lee turned and saw Amanda was turned his way with a dreamy look on her face. He caught her eye, and winked at her. Then he blew her a kiss. She blushed and ducked her head.
Dotty turned to see what had caught her daughter's eye, and Lee turned and made a fast exit.
As he made his way back to his car, he mused on her words. ''With love you have to be patient.' Amanda said that to me during the Hoover files case—I wondered about it then—and now I know. She was talking about us. She has been waiting for me for a very long time, I think.' His mind flew back to the Alan Chamberlain case, when he had climbed into her bedroom window. 'I almost kissed her then—but in her bedroom—it might not have stopped at just a kiss and I wasn't ready to face up to how I felt about her…'
As he drove back toward Georgetown he happily anticipated their date. 'I'll take her to Emilio's. Then—I don't know but we'll go dancing somewhere nice and intimate. I know we won't end up in bed—that's not my Amanda. But it's a good start. I know we can make this work—I just have to be patient—this time it's my turn to be patient. And I do love her—so I can be as patient with her as she was with me. You were oh so very right Amanda, with love you have to be patient.'